Recently a member asked us about lead generation. Is any one program better than the other? How do I get started? And what was our advice in general? Well, as we didn’t have any first-hand experience, we researched the field a bit. Please note that our review is not a thorough vetting of the market nor a decisive answer for all, but anecdotally it gives some ideas. While various players tout different software programs or software-as-a-service (think online CRM tools), several experts seem to concur that a great website and managing one’s online presence is just as good if not better.
For a more traditional software approach, Chicago Agent Magazine is a great resource for tips, tools, and tricks from active practitioners. This article suggests a few lead generation tools, “The Best in Tech for Real Estate” dated July 2013 (scroll down to section “Best Lead Generation Software”). Other options to consider can be found at Texas A & M’s Real Estate Center’s Real Estate Software Directory. While the online tools mentioned in the above article don’t appear, you can find some software options under the section called “Contact Management“. Play around with some of the other categories to find software and tools for advertising, farming management, etc.
However, not everyone is on the software bandwagon:
Be your own AdWords manager. Learning the in and outs of paid search is a tough road, but a very rewarding one. Very similar to renting a home versus owning a home. One requires payment with not equity in the end, whereas the other requires payment, hard work, but equity in the end.
If you decide software isn’t the solution, here are some ideas on alternative methods for lead generation. It seems almost as if there is a consensus amongst the experts on using alternative methods (other than traditional software or pay-per-click tools). As per NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 90% of home buyers use the Internet in their home search process, and 96% of buyers under the age of 44 use the Internet in the home search process, so buyers are definitely online. The articles below give a good lay-of-the-land and offer some good ideas as to how to connect with these buyers when they are online.
Move: Leads to Real Estate Pros Up 50%, Inman, Aug. 2013
Use the Internet to Your Advantage, Chicago Agent Magazine, July 2013
3 Keys to Personalizing Your Marketing, REALTOR® Magazine, April 2013
4 Tips for Online Lead Generation, REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 2013
Real Geeks vs Tiger Leads by Sarasota Real Estate Broker, Real Geeks, Feb. 2012
[Agent Profile] Blogging is KEY to Generating More Leads, Inman, Aug. 2011
Keep the leads flowing, REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 2010
Rethinking lead generation, REALTOR® Magazine, Oct. 2009
Capture the leads, REALTOR® Magazine, July 2009
Latest SCOTUS property rights case, Vegas is back, and creative ways to stand out from the crowd
The Supreme Court handed down a decision Tuesday morning that’s gotten considerably less attention than this term’s blockbuster battles over same-sex marriage and voting rights. But Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District will likely prove a historic property-rights ruling, with far-reaching implications for the leverage local land-use agencies may use to extract concessions from property owners and developers for the common and environmental good.
‘Don’t bet against the house’ as the saying in Vegas goes. That holds true for Vegas real estate too apparently. High-paying investors have helped Las Vegas’ real estate prices to bloom in a place that once ranked as the country’s foreclosure capital.
You expect your real estate agent to be knowledgeable, friendly and possess business expertise. Do you also want to go hang gliding with them? It’s certainly one way to distinguish yourself among many real estate agents. Some agents exercise with their clients, some go turkey hunting, play beer pong or take their customers to Costco to stock up on home supplies. “You see each other as real people, not as ‘you work for me,’ ” . . . “And I don’t see you as dollar signs.”
With tongue in cheek, NPR shares some tips on sounding like an expert at a wine tasting.
Worst charities, packing a suit, and a royal baby bump (to the economy)
It’s time for summer charity walks, runs, bike races, you name it. But not all charities are as equal. Sadly some are little more than slush funds for their managers. The Tampa Bay Times recently took a look at the problems with the business and came up with the list of the 50 worst charities. If you recognize any of these names you might want to reconsider your donation.
Boston demonstrated the Economics 101 concept of “supply and demand” with a recent $560,000 sale of a tandem parking spot. Does the parking spot come with a mechanic and valet, we wonder?
Packing a suit for a business trip can be a challenge. I generally spend my first night on a trip behind an ironing board making sure I’m presentable for the rest of a trip. Business Insider has a video on how to pack a suit correctly (though I wish the closeups weren’t so extreme). Other people suggest rolling it all like a burrito and I’ve heard the best thing is to just wear your suit on the plane. Do you guys have any tricks?
The Seattle Public Library recently broke the world record for a domino chain made out of old books.
Google Glasses are still the greatest invention that I’ve never seen. While the wearable screens won’t be on the market until next year, people are already beta testing. A big supporter, tech investor, Marc Andreessen, is a fan, saying that at some point we’ll feel naked without a pair. Of course he’s looking for google glass apps to invest in.
What makes you an adult? Getting married, buying a house, having kids? Not necessarily for Millennials, says The Wall Street Journal. Millennials say they feel like an adult when they have bought their own health insurance, establishing a career and paying off student loans. Instead, topping their list of adult milestones are more amorphous goals such as “accepting responsibility for yourself” and “making your own decisions” about, say, what car to buy or whether to take a job in a different city.
Royal baby to give almost $400 million bump to British economy
Lost your keys, your pet or your remote? Place a Sticknfind tracking device on your items (before you lose them) and find them with your phone. The Radar Screen displays all your devices that have been tagged within range.You can tap the Sticker on the radar screen and decide if you would like it to Buzz, Flash the Lights or do both. Note: the radar Screen can only be used to approximate the distance of the Stick-N-Find to your phone, but not direction.
In the annals of keepin’ it klassy: Spirit Airlines to serve wine in a can.
Big city revival, new Gmail, Millennial housing preferences, and man’s best friend
Big cities could be making a growth comeback after a rocky decade. Their growth rates are rising and, for the second year in a row, they are growing faster than their surrounding suburbs.
Is the smartphone the all-purpose Swiss Army knife of the future? Software developers offer August, adding one more utility to the smartphone: house key. Thanks to @paulmacko for sharing this article with us.
Google is ‘improving’ Gmail once again. You can now sort your inbox by tabbed category – personal, social, updates, etc. – so that you only see the type of email you want to deal with now. The rollout is supposed to be gradual, so if you don’t see anything different now, wait a bit. And for now, you can opt out of the upgrade if you don’t like it.
This week Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate released national survey findings of 18-35 year-old Americans that reveal the next generation of homeowners are rewriting the rules to homeownership and reinterpreting traditional norms to fit their values.
The process of home buying and selling invariably entails a move. BuzzFeed offers 33 great moving tips to smooth the transition.
Seems like the whole Midwest has had a week of storms, thunder and lightning. To keep up to speed on the go, check out these apps for coping with severe weather.
The passage of time as seen through photographs can sometimes feel haunting or sad, yet photographer Wilma Hurskainen captures this passage in a stunning, provocative, and mostly happy presentation. Take a look at the four sisters, side-by-side, as children and adults.
Man’s best friend? Last year dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all dollars paid out in homeowners insurance liability claims.
On a lighter dog-related note, if you’re still traumatized by Old Yeller and you didn’t even see the ending of I Am Legend because you ran out of the theater holding your ears. At this cool website, learn the fate of canine cast members BEFORE watching the film!
Ebert RIP, overcoming inertia, recycling electronics
Film critic, author, screenwriter, journalist, and New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest winner Roger Ebert passed on this week at 70. Even in his last years he was prolific, reviewing more than 30o movies. Rest in Peace.
The cell phone is 40 years old this week. The original model was 10 inches long and weighed 2.5 pounds, a behemoth by today’s standards. For comparison, most modern smartphones weigh between four and six ounces. Of course, conspiracy theorists think cell phones might be much older, or this woman went back in time!
What do you get when you team up the London School of Economics and University of Manchester? “The Great British Class Survey,” which focuses on three forms of capital: 1) Economic; 2) Social; 3) Cultural. Check out their “class calculator.” Which of the seven classes best characterizes you?
Is a little voice inside your head insisting that your obstacles to exercising are stronger than you are? Psych it out with a few ingenious strategies that overcome just about every excuse.
Out of dryer sheets? Need a quick paper towel replacement? Here are 13 household items that can do double duty around the home in a pinch.
There should be an app for that: personal breathalyzer.
What do you do with your old cell phones, iPads, iPods, TVs or computers? Put them in the garage or on the curb, hoping someone will take them? WiseBread offers responsible solutions for disposing your old electronics. The choices ranges from donation, selling the items, trading it in or recycling it. Get the pros and cons of each choice here.
I can’t get into the idea of buying fake designer goods. Is image that important? Anyway, if you wonder if your flea market find is genuine, here’s a guide to figuring it out – hint: it’s all in the details…
From REALTOR® Magazine:
Marketing top-line features for luxury buyers, (REALTOR Magazine, Jan. 2011): “For Vanderbilt Residences, a year-old residential waterfront development in Newport, R.I., figuring out the defining luxuries inside each of the 16 furnished units was an important first step. There are a lot of vacation homes in the area, and an equally high number of listings along the water.”
Own your niche, (REALTOR Magazine, Jul, 2009): “He built an intricate database of people who owned homes or vacant lots there and then categorized properties by waterfront, lake view, and golf course. He launched a postcard campaign that gave home owners an Apple Valley State of the Market Report, he advertised in the community’s monthly newspaper, and he snapped up a memorable URL, www.applevalleyohio.com. The year after developing his niche, his team’s sales total climbed to 322. The next year, it surpassed his sale-a-day goal, with 380 transactions.”
Get creative with our listing, (YPN Lounge Blog, Feb. 9, 2011). “We’ve been in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on every online venue we should be. We’ve targeted the agents selling high-end waterfronts with glossy mailers and e-mails. We spent a lot of money having two video tours done – the client didn’t like how the first one came out, so we had to hire a second videographer from New York for a reshoot. The new video came out great and really captures the essence and value of the property being a waterfront. The next step was to make sure people actually see the video. My partner created a killer website for the property. Our listing has a Facebook fan page and Twitter account where I upload new photos and host online contests, etc.”
The prospect warm-up, (REALTOR Magazine, Mar. 2011): “DeBord does that through his Web site and blogs. “We publish as much relevant and useful data for our clients as possible, from market updates to neighborhood guides,” he says. DeBord also writes a monthly blog post for his local newspaper analyzing price trends and reporting significant waterfront home sales.”
Multifamily attracting foreign investors, (REALTOR Magazine, Jun. 14, 2012): “It’s going to be a hot market for the next 18 months to two years” Fisher says. “If you can secure a multifamily property, it will bring off-the-charts money because that’s what buyers want in today’s marketplace […] Waterfront properties are also in high demand right now — I literally receive one or two calls a day from investor pools looking for waterfront multifamily properties.”
Man tries to sell not just home but life on eBay, (REALTOR Magazine, Aug. 13, 2012): “A man is offering up not just his Florida waterfront home and rental condo, but also basically all of his possessions and investments together on eBay, with the asking price of $3.5 million. Shane Butcher decided that instead of dying owning a bunch of his investments, he wants to cash out now so he can reap the financial benefits earlier. He’s offering up a waterfront Tampa Bay home, a rental condo, three cars, kayaks, video games, his gaming business called “RU Game?” with three chains, Blu-Ray players, kitchen appliances, paintings, TVs, and more. Butcher says his homes, cars, business and everything else is all paid off in full. He says he’s looking for a fresh start.”
Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Dept. of Env’l Protection: No Taking Found in Florida Case, (2010): “Florida law provides that the state owns all submerged land under navigable waters and the land between the low tide line and the mean high-tide line. Waterfront property owners own the land up to the high-tide line. These property owners have the right to access the water, right to receive “accretions” from the water, and the right to an unobstructed view of the water. A property owner receives ownership of land gradually added to his/her land through accretion (i.e., land created by deposits naturally added from the water source); however, sudden changes causing additional dry land on a beach is an “avulsion” and the state retains the ownership of that property.”
Articles in the ProQuest database:
Heinrich, J. & Kashian, R. (2010). Pricing the homebuyer’s proximity to open land. The Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 11.1: 80-88.
Wyman, D. & Sperry, S. (2010). The million dollar view: A study of golf course, mountain, and lake lots. The Appraisal Journal, 78.2: 159-168.
Clark, C. S. (2012). Hard sell. Government Executive, 44.5: 29-33.
Hoen, B., Wiser, R., Cappers, P., Thayer, M. & Sethi, G. (2011). Wind energy facilities and residential properties: The effect of proximity and view on sales prices. The Journal of Real Estate Research, 33.3: 279-316.
Cazzin, J. & Chapin, A. (2011). Dream city deals. MoneySense, 13.3: 69-72.
eBooks* in the NAR Library for free 21-day checkout to NAR members:
We also have numerous eBooks on sales and marketing topics, including this book, Selling Luxury by Robin Lent (2009). If you’re interested in checking out eBooks, first download the free Adobe Digital Editions software required to view/read eBooks.
Inman also has a few articles related to waterfront properties.
Books in the NAR Library’s print collection (accessible to all REALTORS®; order up to 3 at a time for a shipping fee of $10):
Downpayment saving, new Kindle next week? and enormous new TVs
How long will it take to save for your home? The Atlantic analyzed data to calculate times for major metro areas. They based their numbers on saving a standard 20 percent down on an average home with a worker making an average wage putting aside 10 percent of earnings each month. Now they use pretty conservative estimates, but if you’re looking to buy in Honolulu it would take over 28 years to save that downpayment. San Francisco is another place where the kids will be in college when you finally buy, coming in at over 20 years.
To get the best prices, don’t buy gas right before a holiday or Wednesday mornings after 10am. Gas stations usually raise their prices before heavily traveled holidays, such as Labor Day and after gas station owners have checked out their competitors’ prices.
Will the Kindle be given away for free some time in the near future? Farhad Manjoo of Slate predicts that it will. Manjoo even thinks that one day signing up for Amazon’s Prime service – $79 a year for fast shipping, streaming content, etc – will net you a free Kindle at some point down the road. And watch out: Amazon shows that Kindle Fires are ‘sold out‘ currently, meaning an update is just days away.
Time reports that Icelanders are more than twice as happy as Americans in general. What can American business learn from our northern neighbors to better our workplaces? Create a community, have a hobby, put family first, and provide healthier food. Oh, and eat fermented shark occasionally…
Love your new flat screen TV? You didn’t think electronic makers were going to let you stop there, did you? Start saving your pennies cause a whole slough of companies announced so-called ’4K’ sets this week. Boasting a resolution of nearly 4000 pixels on the horizontal (vs today’s 1080 pixels on the vertical), most sets start at 84 inches wide. But why stop there? Panasonic recently demo’d an 8k set. Of course there’s no content yet and you’ll have to sit wwaaayyy back but hey, there you go….
Winning friends in a digital age, green olympics, and learning to focus
Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has been a popular title since it debuted in 1936. Millions of copies have been sold all around the world. We even have an audio version in our ebook collection for members that has proven very popular over the years, with downloads putting the title in the top 15% of checkouts. CBS News had a story recently on Carnegie’s enduring message of following the Golden Rule and how it has translated into the digital age.
The Olympic Opening Ceremonies are tonight in London. Don’t expect the over-the-top spectacle of Beijing, but it should still be a good show. And more sustainable to boot. The stadium has been designed to be partly dismantled at the end of the games to more easily be repurposed. So too the aquatic center by famed architect Zaha Hadid. Now if only the mascots weren’t quite so creepy.
America’s fastest growing city is…no surprise if you think about it.
Focusing on the job can sometimes be difficult. You have to remember to pick up the dry cleaning after work, drop off the kids at practice, oh, you need to book that restaurant reservation before you forget, didn’t Tom say he was going to post some pictures from your vacation together on Facebook? The list goes on and on. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few tricks to minimize their impact, allowing you to get through your work in a reasonable amount of time.
China Daily reports on the latest automated advance in China – Beijing’s automatic library vending machines. You have to register your card for a $16 to get access. That seems kind of steep to me, but you can’t doubt the ease of checking out and returning might outweigh the cost.